The Ascension

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The Ascension

And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God.– MARK xvi. 19. INTRODUCTION. During forty days after His Resurrection our Lord appeared many times and in diverse places and circumstances to His disciples and others. He walked and talked with them. He permitted them to see and put their hands into His wounds, and He ate with them; thus proving by the most incontestable arguments that He was really risen from the dead, and was again living in His own body. It was also during those forty days that our Saviour gave His Apostles final instructions concerning His Church.

I. ” He ascended into heaven.” 1. Give brief history of the Ascension as detailed in today’s Gospel and Epistle. 2. Christ ascended into heaven as man; as God He was always there, 3. Christ ascended into heaven by His own power.

II. He “sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” 1. These words express the glory which Christ as man enjoys above all others in heaven. This glory the Saviour merited by His earthly poverty, sufferings, and death (Philip, ii. 9). 2. Christ is now constituted King over all the world: “of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke i. 33; Eph. i. 22; Heb. ii.  Continue reading

Saint Joan of Arc

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Saint Joan of Arc

Virgin, Martyr (1412-1431)

Who today does not know the history of the Maid of Orleans, who saved France from the foreign domination of the English, only to be betrayed by the legitimate prince whom her efforts had crowned at Rheims, then burnt at the stake on May 30, 1431? Both in the French and English languages, many books and articles have honored her since her canonization in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

The Holy Father spoke before the bishop of Orleans and others present for the reading of the decree which approved her two final great miracles, needed to proceed with the canonization. He said, We find the memory of Joan of Arc so apt to enkindle love in the French people for their mother country, that we regret being French only in our heart! Many others could say the same, and confirm the exactitude of the proverb: Every Christian has two mother countries — the one where he or she first saw the light of day, and France!

Two years later, Pope Pius XI declared Saint Joan patroness of France with the Most Blessed Virgin, placing her second only to the Mother of God. In that year Monsignor Baudrillart, French historian, wrote that Saint Joan of Arc may be proposed as an example to all young children by her perfect piety; as a model of fidelity to the call of heaven, to all young persons. For artisans, scholars, writers, teachers, she gives excellent example by her respect for truth and her remarkable prudence. Those dedicated to the works of mercy should find inspiration in her charity, visible when she consoled and wept for her wounded and dying enemies. All agricultural workers can invoke her with confidence, for when Joan, with the archbishop of Rheims, rode through the rich fields in the month of August and saw the reapers at work, she expressed a wish, despite the honors she then enjoyed, to die in the midst of the country-folk of France whom she loved. Her illness in prison, her martyrdom in the flames, recommend her intercession to the sick, as also to all who pray for loved ones in purgatory.

Finally, Monsignor Baudrillart concluded, we pray our new Patroness to intercede unceasingly with God and the Most Blessed Virgin that France, its thoughts turned towards the true liberty of God’s children and its own ancient dignity, may truly be today as before, the firstborn daughter of the Church. For centuries that title — conferred because of the early conversion of King Clovis and three thousand of his noble soldiers, baptized on Christmas day of 496 — was the glory of Christian France. It was later magnificently renewed and embellished by the heroic virgin, Joan of Arc.

Almanach Catholique français pour 1923 (Librairie Bloud et Gay: Paris, 1923).

St. Ferdinand III

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St. Ferdinand III., King of Castile and Leon, Confessor

HE was eldest son to Alphonsus, king of Leon, and of Berangera of Castile, elder sister 1 of Blanche, mother of St. Lewis of France, and was born about the end of the year 1198 or some time in 1199. Beranga had been obliged by Pope Innocent III. to a separation from Alphonsus of Leon after having borne to him two sons, Ferdinand and Alphonsus, and two daughters, because, though in the third degree of consanguinity, they had been married without a dispensation, which was at that time very difficult to be obtained. But because this marriage had been contracted bona fide by the decrees of the pope, and the states of the two kingdoms, their children were declared their lawful heirs. Berangera returned to her father Alphonsus IX. of Castile, one of the most valiant and virtuous kings that ever reigned in Spain, and who was to her the most tender and best of fathers. He dying in 1214, his son Henry, eleven years of age, succeeded him under the tutorship and regency of his mother, Eleonor of England. But she followed her husband to the grave within twenty-five days; grief for having lost him being the cause of her death. Berangera was charged with the guardianship of her brother and the regency of the kingdom; but out of love of retirement suffered herself to be persuaded to resign both to a nobleman called Don Alvarez, who proved a perfidious, turbulent man, and for several years embroiled all Castile and the neighbouring kingdoms. Berangera was a princess of accomplished prudence and piety, and exercises of devotion were her chief delight. King Henry, by the contrivance of Alvarez, at twelve years of age was married to Mafalda, sister to Alphonsus, king of Portugal, but upon an impediment of consanguinity which was proved before commissaries, Pope Innocent III. declared the marriage null, and Mafalda returning to Portugal, founded a Cistercian nunnery at Arouca, took herself the veil, and lived in such great sanctity as to be honoured among the saints on the 1st of May. The young King Henry died of a wound he received by a tile falling upon his head at Palencia on the 6th of June, 1217, and Berangera put in her claim to the crown; but transferring her right upon her son Ferdinand, surnamed the Saint, caused him, who was in the eighteenth year of his age, to be proclaimed king at Palencia, Valladolid, and Burgos, having first lodged in the archives of the church of this last city, the solemn act of her own resignation. Don Alvarez and other factious spirits filled the kingdom with disturbances and civil wars for several years; but these the young king by his clemency, prudence, and valour, assisted by his mother’s counsels, stifled and overcame. Alvarez was taken and pardoned; and perfidiously renewed his treasonable cabals and broils, both at home and abroad. Though Ferdinand was so great a king, no child ever obeyed a mother with a more ready and perfect submission than he did Berangera to the time of her death, as his ancient historian assures us. 2 By her advice he took to wife, in 1219, Beatrix, daughter of Philip of Suabia, emperor of Germany, a most virtuous and accomplished princess. The happy union of their hearts was never disturbed by the least cloud during the fifteen years of their cohabitation; and their marriage was blessed with a numerous family of seven sons and three daughters. St. Ferdinand was severe in the administration and the execution of the laws, but readily pardoned all personal injuries; and no sooner were rebellions crushed, but he granted general amnesties. His prudence and his constant attention to the care of his people appeared most conspicuous in the happy choice he always made of governors, magistrates, and generals. Rodriguez, archbishop of Toledo and chancellor of Castile, was during thirty years at the head of all his councils, and so perfectly united with Berangera and St. Ferdinand in all their deliberations as to seem to have but one soul with them. To set a curb to inferior tribunals he established the court, since called the Royal Council of Castile, which consists of ten auditors, and to which there lies an appeal from all other courts. A code of laws which he caused to be compiled by the most able lawyers 3 is still used in that kingdom. 1 Continue reading


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The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

At the Introit the Church sings the words which were spoken by the angels to the apostles and disciples, after the Ascension of our Lord:

INTROIT Ye men of Galilee, why wonder you, looking up to heaven? allel.: He shall so come as you have seen him going up into heaven. Allel., allel., allel. (Acts I. 11.), Oh, clap your hands, all ye nations; shout unto God with the voice of joy. (Ps. XLVI. 2.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Grant, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that we who believe Thy only‑begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have this day ascended into the heavens, may ourselves also in, mind dwell amid heavenly things. Through the same etc.

LESSON (Acts I. 1-11.) The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach , until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles ,whom he had chosen, he was taken up: to whom also he showed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the prom­ise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth: for John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. They, therefore, who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? But he said to diem: It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in his own power; but you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold, two men stood by them in white garments, who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand yon looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven. Continue reading